“The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.”” (John 9:8–11, ESV)
Looking back to November I was working through the gospel of John, leaving off with chapter 9, verses 6 and 7 where Jesus had made the blind man to see by making mud with His own saliva and anointing the man’s eyes with it. He then told the man to go to the pool of Siloam (which means Sent) to wash off the mud. When he did this he came back seeing.
Returning to John and looking at the next verses, we find a series of response to the man’s healing. The first responses are by his neighbors in verses 8-11. These people had been around him for years. They knew him, and they knew him to be blind. This was not a recent accident or something they could have missed or being mistaken about. Verse 1 of chapter 9 records for us that the man had been blind since birth, and there was no denying that fact. What was equally undeniable was the fact that he could now see, and so the questions began.
The neighbors talked among themselves in amazement. They had questions they could not answer. On one side there were those who knew him to be the blind beggar and they recognized him as having sat day after day asking things from all who passed. But the man before and the man after did not add up to them, and they had to ask themselves if it truly was the same man.
There were others who insisted that it was the man. Though they could not explain what happened, there was no denying to them that he was one and the same man. The first group responded that it couldn’t be. It must be someone like him, but it surely wasn’t him.
In the midst of all of back and forth the man was standing there among them saying over and over again that it really was him. He truly was blind and now he could see. So, the logical response followed. They asked him how this could be. They asked him the hard question, “Then how were your eyes opened?” To this the man could only respond, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.”
Jesus made the difference. The radical change in this man came at the hands of Jesus. Jesus had healed him and made him to see. There was no other answer. The man couldn’t do it for Himself. There was no doctor or expensive procedure that could do it. There was not therapy that could do it. There was no explanation for the change in the man other than Jesus having done it, and Jesus is the One to whom the man gave the credit.
Just as was done to this man physically, every single one of us who has trusted Jesus for our salvation can say the same thing. Where once we were blind, now we can see. God’s Spirit has opened our eyes to the greatest gift ever given and we have been given new lives that are eternal. We have been given the ability to discern things spiritually that before we couldn’t. We have been given a deep and abiding relationship with the Living God, and there was not a thing we could do to make it happen.
Jesus covered the man’s eyes and told Him to go wash them in the poof called Sent, and when the mad did this his sight was given to him for the first time in his life. The Son who was sent by the Father washes us as well. We were all born spiritually separated from God, and His Son cleanses us and restores to us something that though we were intended to have we were lacking. Sin led to blindness, and Jesus’ blood washes away that sin. What an incredible gift we have been given. Jesus will develop this lesson further in the verses that follow.
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as Your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:3–6, ESV)